I See You Standing In It, Every Time.

Israel Malachi

Recently, a consortium of local Twin Ports businesses formed a group they call the “Downstream Business Coalition” with the intent to pressure State of Minnesota officials including Governor Mark Dayton into stopping the Polymet copper-nickel mining project in Hoyt Lakes.

Polymet intends to re-open a shuttered mining facility in Hoyt Lakes to extract precious, non-ferrous metals from what has been estimated to be one of the largest reserves of copper, nickel and even some gold, in the world. It has been estimated that there is at least a 120 year supply of precious minerals, with the mine operating at full capacity. Polymet has applied for a 20-year permit, so that has led to erroneous conjecture and false assumptions that the mine would operate for 20 years, pollute all the water in Lake Superior, then close up and leave us with empty pockets and broken hearts and a devastated landscape.

Any reasonable person can see that these are falsehoods and scare tactics by opponents of mining, but apparently these 41 business owners are not able to discern the truth and are unwilling to try. In 2012, the Labovitz School of Business and Economics published a comprehensive study on the impact that this mining operation would have on the region, and the MPCA and other regulating organizations have reams of documents available to anyone who is interested in finding out the true risks and benefits of this project, but apparently, this consortium of self-appointed experts have decided to ignore all of this legwork, and simply react to the slanted negative hype surrounding this project and oppose it.

Strange that some of the very businesses opposing this mine, i.e. Bent Paddle Brewery, Thirsty Pagan Brewery, Vikre Distillery and others, use an inordinate amount of these very elements, copper, nickel, brass, stainless steel, in their manufacturing operations. I guess they feel it is morally justifiable to extract these minerals SOMEWHERE ELSE, like Brazil and have them shipped here, using gallons and gallons of fuel oil, generating copious amounts of air pollution, and (presumably) poisoning somebody else’s water supply. The end justifies the means? Not in my backyard? Which flawed ethic are they operating under?

Meanwhile, they tout their businesses as “sustainable” while the mine is not. Really? Can you name any outdoor furniture company, micro- brewery, restaurant or liquor distillery that has been in business for more than 120 years? I can maybe think of a few, but the number of 120-year successes is dwarfed by the number of businesses such as these that have NOT sustained themselves for 120 years.

Isn’t it enough that the City of Duluth has bent over backwards to accommodate the genesis and  growth of these businesses? That the people of this area have supported these businesses with hometown pride? Loll received part of the $500 thousand dollars that the Minnesota Trade Office allotted for export promotion, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. It is mind boggling that they would oppose the economic development that the Polymet project would engender.

Is it too much for the people who do most of the eating, drinking, sitting, living and dying in this area to have a few hundred decent, $100,000-a-year jobs to buy the products that this snooty group of carpet-bagging elitists produce?